Cinema, Drums and the Spoken Word bring home the pain of Trafficking in Persons

Randy McLaren’s drum-beating dub poetry performance, resoundingly brought home the pain, suffering and bondage experienced by women, men, girls and boys who are subjugated to human trafficking by criminal elements around us.

Mr. McLaren was the guest performer on 28 July, 2016, at an evening dubbed “Conversations, Cocktails and Cinema”, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. The event, held under the theme, “Circle of Change: Understanding Trafficking, Supporting Victims”, was a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Justice / National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons and the UNDP.

The private screening of the movie, SOLD, also invited the audience to experience some raw, deep-seated and heart-wrenching emotions, seen through the innocent eyes of a young Nepalese girl who was trafficked to a brothel in India, where she must risk everything for her freedom. The movie’s producer, Jane Charles, introduced the movie to the audience, using a live video streaming feed from Seattle Washington, in the United States. 

Arriving guests committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to local and international campaigns such as the UN-supported Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking. Guests proudly held up campaign and SDG materials, in solidarity with those making the effort to prevent and reduce this crime against humanity.

The evening’s host, Mr. Andre Earle, shared startling global and local statistics on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), throughout the public awareness and education event. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Chairperson for the Taskforce, Mrs. Carol Palmer, convincingly chronicled her personal engagement and commitment to the cause of eradicating modern day slavery, epitomized in any human trafficking experience. She also delivered a Call to Action for all Jamaicans and stakeholders.

In his remarks, UN Resident Coordinator/ UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Bruno Pouezat, congratulated the government and all stakeholders for making TIP a priority action item in its declaration of 24-30 July, as TIP week here in Jamaica. Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, pointed out in his remarks, that TIP is a global multi-billion industry, representing a serious threat to law and order everywhere. The Hon. Delroy Chuck, Minister of Justice gave the final remark, where he highlighted imminent plans to train, inform and alert thousands of Jamaican stakeholders about the crime of human trafficking, which is now plaguing our communities.

The evening also saw Dr. Leith Dunn, Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, presenting a situational analysis of human trafficking in Jamaica. UNDP’s Programme Specialist, Mr. Richard Kelly, made a presentation on the TIP Project Document, after a demonstration of a Trafficking in Persons Jamaican Database. The evening ended with an interactive Question and Answer session and a Vote of Thanks from UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune.

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